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Aridification of the Egyptian Sahara 5000–4000 cal BP revealed from x-ray fluorescence analysis of Nile Delta sediments at Kom al-Ahmer/Kom Wasit

Aridification of the Egyptian Sahara 5000–4000 cal BP revealed from x-ray fluorescence analysis of Nile Delta sediments at Kom al-Ahmer/Kom Wasit
Aridification of the Egyptian Sahara 5000–4000 cal BP revealed from x-ray fluorescence analysis of Nile Delta sediments at Kom al-Ahmer/Kom Wasit

Elemental XRF analysis carried out on an 8m long core from the Nile Delta reveals a gradual increase in the Ca/Ti ratio between 5000–4000 cal BP which is linked to the progressive development of hyper-aridity in this region. The increase results from elevated flux of aeolian material entering the Nile river system from calcareous source rock geologies in the dryer Egyptian Sahara. The most major increase in hyper-aridity occurs around 4000 cal BP. Such a perspective suggests a locally abrupt, regionally time-transgressive inception of hyper-aridity in this region at the end of the African Humid Period. After this time, reorganisation of wind circulation meant that less Saharan-derived aeolian material entered the Nile Valley, and the contribution of aeolian material in the Nile’s sedimentary signal was also dwarfed by an increase in Blue Nile sedimentary flux. Chronological control is provided by two radiocarbon dates and the top and bottom of a well-constrained pottery horizon that dates from the period of occupation of two nearby archaeological sites: Kom al-Ahmer and Kom Wasit.

African humid period, Desertification, Egypt, Kom al-Ahmer/Kom Wasit, Sahara, XRF
1040-6182
Pennington, Benjamin T.
e4bbad98-914c-4e9b-958d-54f5f87422b2
Hamdan, Mohamed A.
0deaf936-9d2a-42dc-a14a-5f0b7c3019e8
Pears, Ben R.
36d04a0f-6948-4e68-8f60-3a2a54d70bd0
Sameh, Hamed I.
66094efa-33a9-4859-9093-5b1a4fde4a80
Pennington, Benjamin T.
e4bbad98-914c-4e9b-958d-54f5f87422b2
Hamdan, Mohamed A.
0deaf936-9d2a-42dc-a14a-5f0b7c3019e8
Pears, Ben R.
36d04a0f-6948-4e68-8f60-3a2a54d70bd0
Sameh, Hamed I.
66094efa-33a9-4859-9093-5b1a4fde4a80

Pennington, Benjamin T., Hamdan, Mohamed A., Pears, Ben R. and Sameh, Hamed I. (2019) Aridification of the Egyptian Sahara 5000–4000 cal BP revealed from x-ray fluorescence analysis of Nile Delta sediments at Kom al-Ahmer/Kom Wasit. Quaternary International. (doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2019.01.015).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Elemental XRF analysis carried out on an 8m long core from the Nile Delta reveals a gradual increase in the Ca/Ti ratio between 5000–4000 cal BP which is linked to the progressive development of hyper-aridity in this region. The increase results from elevated flux of aeolian material entering the Nile river system from calcareous source rock geologies in the dryer Egyptian Sahara. The most major increase in hyper-aridity occurs around 4000 cal BP. Such a perspective suggests a locally abrupt, regionally time-transgressive inception of hyper-aridity in this region at the end of the African Humid Period. After this time, reorganisation of wind circulation meant that less Saharan-derived aeolian material entered the Nile Valley, and the contribution of aeolian material in the Nile’s sedimentary signal was also dwarfed by an increase in Blue Nile sedimentary flux. Chronological control is provided by two radiocarbon dates and the top and bottom of a well-constrained pottery horizon that dates from the period of occupation of two nearby archaeological sites: Kom al-Ahmer and Kom Wasit.

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Pennington_et_al_XRF_QI_ACCEPTED_FIGS_AT_END - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 10 January 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 January 2019
Keywords: African humid period, Desertification, Egypt, Kom al-Ahmer/Kom Wasit, Sahara, XRF

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 430143
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/430143
ISSN: 1040-6182
PURE UUID: c7345dff-19b8-4bd6-9fdb-f5464cf27b9d
ORCID for Benjamin T. Pennington: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9969-8140

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Apr 2019 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 06:58

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Contributors

Author: Mohamed A. Hamdan
Author: Ben R. Pears
Author: Hamed I. Sameh

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